Take on Conference USA
From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, November 27, 2001
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9
Bowl Situation Murky, but ECU in the
Rarely does a team
get a chance to play for a bowl berth in consecutive games.
East Carolina was 0-2
in that very situation. The Pirates had a shot at the Liberty Bowl, but
couldn’t beat Louisville at home. The Pirates had a shot at the GMAC Bowl,
but couldn’t beat Southern Miss at home.
Still, ECU is very
much a part of a muddled bowl picture for Conference USA.
Louisville is in the
Liberty Bowl as the C-USA champion. The Cardinals will most likely meet BYU
in Memphis, though the Cougars still have hopes of a BCS at-large bid.
From there, we’ve got
five teams vying for three bowl slots.
is the only team that has completed its regular season. The Pirates were 6-5
Southern Miss is 6-3
with a game in Birmingham against Alabama on Thursday night. The Golden
Eagles also host Texas Christian on December 7th and could finish
8-3 with a possible national ranking — or, they could stumble home at 6-5.
TCU came up with a
big win over Louisville to vault into the bowl hunt. The Horned Frogs are
5-5 and have to win at Southern Miss to become bowl eligible.
UAB is 6-4 and has a
critical game this weekend at Pittsburgh. A UAB win would move the Blazers
to 7-4, an attractive record for a school without a great traveling
is 6-4 and should move to 7-4 with a win over Louisiana-Monroe.
After talking with
league officials and several representatives from the relevant bowls, here’s
how I think it shakes out:
Decided Sunday night to delay a decision on a team until after this coming
weekend. With the second pick, the rest of the bowls have to wait until
Mobile makes a decision. Southern Miss is in with a win over Alabama. UAB
might be considered with a win over Pitt, and a Southern Miss loss. East
Carolina is high on the list because of the travel reputation of Pirate
fans. TCU and Cincinnati are longshots.
Has the third selection and bowl officials liked what they got with East
Carolina last year. If Mobile chooses the Pirates, then Southern Miss
would likely go to Houston. The galleryfurniture.com Bowl also likes TCU,
but the Horned Frogs have to beat Southern Miss to become bowl eligible.
There is also a very real possibility that this bowl might take the winner
of the Southern Miss-TCU game. Cincinnati is considered a longshot.
Motor City Bowl:
Cincinnati is the favorite, because the Bearcats are the closest to
Pontiac. Also, it would be an Ohio rivalry, with Cincy matching up with
Toledo from the MAC. East Carolina is high on the list, because the
Pirates have yet to play in the Motor City Bowl. TCU and UAB are
Assistant Commissioner from Conference USA, says there really isn’t anything
concrete, just yet.
“I really thing we’ll
see something by the end of the weekend,” Teter said. “I still feel that
East Carolina is an attractive choice for one of our bowls, because the
Pirates fans have proven that they will travel and support their team.
After talking to
Teter and a representative from each of the bowls on Monday, I came up with
Southern Miss loses
to Alabama and UAB falls at Pittsburgh. That sends
to Mobile, Cincinnati
to Pontiac, and the winner of the Southern Miss-TCU game to Houston.
I like that scenario
Another one is, if
Southern Miss wins it heads to Mobile. If UAB loses, then Houston could
provide a scenario for TCU to go to the galleryfurniture.com Bowl, if the
Frogs beat Southern Miss on December 7th. A TCU loss would then
send the Pirates back to Houston
for a second straight season.
Obviously we’d much
rather be talking about a Liberty Bowl matchup with BYU. But after a
disappointing 6-5 record, any bowl would be welcome.
Here’s hoping that
East Carolina’s David Garrard, Leonard Henry and Pernell Griffin, and
others, will get one more shot!
Conference USA Power Rankings 
1. Louisville —
Though the Cards came up FLAT against TCU.
2. Southern Miss —
Golden Eagles still have two key games to go. Win over Alabama nails down
a bowl bid.
3. East Carolina —
Still feel like the Pirates are as good as anyone in the league, but
losses to number one and two end hopes of a league title.
4. Cincinnati —
Bearcats should go to 7-4 this weekend.
5. UAB — Blazers
just don’t have enough history to get a bowl bid this year.
6. TCU — Horned
Frogs need another upset win to sneak into the bowl scene.
7. Memphis — Tigers
lost showdown to Cincy to end their bowl hopes.
8. Army — Rooting
hard for the Black Knights this week against Navy.
9. Tulane — Green
Wave glad the season is over.
10. Houston — There
is something to be said for perfection. Cougars go for 0-11 at Georgia
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